Skip to main content

Playing My Roles

I don't really remember a time when I wasn't aware of Dungeons and Dragons. Beside the fact that it was firmly entrenched in pop culture by the time I was old enough to be aware of pop culture, I grew up in one of the inner notches of the Bible belt. I was always hearing about how the game was "Satanic" and would lead players into the world of animal sacrifices and orgies with demons. Then on Saturday morning I would watch the cartoon with the team of heroic teenagers and the cute little unicorn. When I would go to the book store I would see the books there and look at all the awesome fantasy art. I really wanted to play that game. But my parents wouldn't buy it for me and I went to a Christian school and appeared to be the only heretic on campus.

Therefor it fell to me to take matters into my own hands. I made up my own version of D&D that I could play by myself. Of course there was a conflict of interest with me being my own dungeon master, but I didn't let that stop me. I had very little idea of the mechanics of the game, as when I looked through the books I spent most of the time staring at the amazing art and very little reading the actual rules and game play. So where the actual game might have you give a beginning character 1d8 hit points (1d8 is the roll of one 8 sided die, and hit points were the amount of damage you could take before you died) I gave my characters (yes I played multiple) 850. Remember, this was before Nintendo was widely available, so I had not even played any role playing video games. 

The monsters I would face were not so well endowed when it came to their hit points, so I normally coasted through adventures with very little problem. When I started going to public school and met the guy who became my best friend, I finally had someone to play with. I introduced him to my version of D&D and we would play on weekends. I was still DM and player, but now I had someone who could play some of the characters. We lost interest though, as I hadn't really picked up on the whole story telling aspect of the game, and my version was little more than a series of monster encounters where we rolled dice to see how badly we mutilated them in the process of committing monster genocide.

Around this same time is when I became obsessed with both wrestling and boxing. And after Rocky 3, which had a sequence with Rocky fighting Hulk Hogan, I thought the two could easily be combined. So I devised a game where I listed all my favorite boxers and wrestlers. And this list didn't just include the then current athletes. I would watch old boxing matches so I was familiar with Muhammed Ali and George Foreman and the like. I would list out their stats (in my childish estimation) and then devised a system to simulate combat between them. I came up with elimination charts and staged huge tournaments that would take me moths to play out. This game I never shared with anyone, it was my own private pastime even though it was probably better than my D&D knockoff.

Soon I met another guy at school who shared my nerdy interests, but whose mom wasn't as firmly in the religious zealot school as mine. She got him the D&D Beginner's Box and we set up a group and started playing. This is the group that played all weekend in an apartment listening to the new Iron Maiden album on a loop that I talked about here. At last I learned how to really play the game, and I loved it. When this group drifted apart after a period of time I put together another group, and this time I was the DM. A comic book store had opened up in our town by this time, and they sold used copies of the books, so I was finally able to get my hands on them. This group would also chip in and buy modules and expansions as a group. We played Ravenloft early on this way, and as I was a big horror movie fan I would incorporate things into the game. For instance, I had the Hellraiser puzzlebox show up and the team summoned the cenobites and had to fight them. I killed those guys off so often. I also used things from fantasy novels I read, even going so far as to create my own mechanics to have Herald-Mages like in the Mercedes Lackey Valdemar books.

My friends and I tried out a few other role playing games, of course trying out the Star Wars and Star Trek branded games, and a mech themed game. We also played things like Axis and Allies, and even made our own clone of the game for a history project in junior high. But eventually we all drifted apart (except for the afore mentioned best friend who married my sister and is in my life to this day) and the games came to an end. When my kids started playing D&D with their friends they invited me to play, but I didn't want to be the weird 40 year old guy hanging out with teenagers. And since adulting prevents me from being able to to much of anything that isn't working for a paycheck or keeping up the maintenance on my house, I think it's safe to say that my rpg days are effectively over.


Popular posts from this blog

Movies With My Dad

I have already talked about my first movie experience  with my dad  so I won't repeat it here. Like many memories of my dad it is a mixed bag of good and bad. But that wasn't the only memory of him I have involving movies. He didn't talk about movies a whole lot except to say he loved westerns and wished they would make more of them. But one non-western that came up was Rebel Without a Cause. He found out it was coming on t.v. and raved about it. He told me how much he loved it, and what a great movie it was. He insisted that I had to watch it when it came on. I watched it and let him know. He asked me what I thought of it and I told him I liked it. And that was it. There was no further discussion of the movie and it was never brought up again. But I still think of him whenever I see the movie or anything referencing it. I know it must have been an important movie to him for him to react the way he did, seeing as he rarely talked about movies at all. When I was a little bit

Who Loves You and Who Do You Love

The following post was submitted by Jennifer Lewis. You can find her on Facebook here . There are a lot of cultural icons we can all cite who have impacted our lives, including but not limited to The Beatles, Steven Spielberg, James Dean, John Williams, Marilyn Monroe, George Lucas, Elvis, Harrison Ford, and so on.  With that being said, I want to recognize someone who had star power back in his day, but never rose to the heights of fame as those mentioned, although he has certainly impacted my life.  Richard Dawson (1932-2012).  Richard Dawson’s presence throughout my life is undeniable.  It’s hard to say when and how he first came onto my cultural radar, but I’ll focus on his career and impact chronologically.  Richard Dawson was one of the loveable and heroic members of Hogan’s Heroes, playing British Corporal Newkirk.  His charisma, charm, and good looks in the role won me over, and he was my favorite on Hogan’s Heroes.  I have several memories of watching Hogan’s Heroes with my bi

My Heavy Metal Journey

With most kids, the first music they become familiar with is the music their parents listen to. For me this meant mainly country music and 50's era rock and roll. I knew about KISS as they were the biggest band around when I was a little kid. I had heard Nazareth and Queen, but not much. My musical world was mostly Waylon Jennings and Elvis Presley.  Then my parents got me my own radio. I was about 9. Up to that point I had mostly listened to their record collection. But now I had access to all the things being played on local radio stations. Now, this was a small town so that didn't mean as much as it might have in a more urban area. R&B was not getting played on the radio where I grew up. But among the religious stations and country stations there were one Top 40 station and one rock station. I can still remember finding the rock station. I was dialing across and heard the beginning of a song. It was something different than anything I had really heard before. Even the KI